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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
When Leia came home with us at 10 wks old she immediately accepted our previous housekeeper as part of the routine. In December, when Leia was 7 months old or so our housekeeper moved to be close to her parents and we got a new housekeeper.

Its now been 3.5 months and I don't completely trust Leia with her

In the beginning Leia would perk up when she came over and stare at her distrustfully. We had the woman pet her and we tried to introduce them well but at times after having the woman pet Leia, which Leia would accept silently, Leia would then try and lunge at her the second her back was turned. Since we were chaperoning these interactions we'd keep her from doing so and tell her off. After about a month this stopped happening.

The women is here 6hrs a day, 5 days a week Leia doesn't even react to seeing her anymore. She just does her normal couch potato impression if any of us are in the room. But just about 2 weeks ago when the housekeeper was cleaning the the driveway, my girlfriend who had been supervising the interactions went inside , leaving them alone for the first time and about 5 minutes later Leia went over to the woman and bit her.

It wasn't an attack. According to the woman, Leia walked over relatively slowly and when the woman wasn't looking, Leia bit her on her arm. It left a mark but didn't break the skin or even puncture her clothes. Apparently the woman said "hey" and recoiled and Leia stared her down menacingly and took small steps forward until the woman went back in the house, but didn't follow.

Since then woman doesn't want to be alone with Leia which is understandable but, obviously I need them to be able to get along.

I'm not sure how to go about it though since Leia appears the same as before, completely nonchalant about her presence. She barely moves her head when the woman walks into the room. Since the 3rd day that the woman was here Leia hasn't barked once at her.

Since the bite incident, the woman has been in the same room with her alone but with Leia tied up and according to her, Leia barely reacts. She never lunges or even gets up.

I'm not sure what to do to speed up the familiarization, especially since when one of us is there everything seems to be fine.

I'm also not sure what happened when Leia bit her. Like I said I don't think it was an attack, I've had the experience of seeing Leia attack and there was no hesitation. At 120lbs she could have easily thrown the women to the ground and bit through clothes and flesh yet she didn't. Also according to the woman, it wasn't immediate, she walked over after a bit and bit her.

Was it a show of dominance? Was it a herding instinct? Was it a salami in her pocket?

One thing that comes to mind is that Leia has never been taught bite inhibition because she never mouthed. From 2 months to 10 months she has never once even scratched us with her teeth. Which is a big difference from every other dog I've had that mouthed as a puppy and was taught that that was a no-no.

Any ideas? Obviously not accepting of strangers is a hallmark of the breed, but 3.5 isn't really a stranger anymore.
 

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It sounds as if she's doing what her breed does. Her guarding instincts are coming to the fore and since the housekeeper is not a member of her family the housekeeper needs to go.

I'm very impressed with her bite inhibition! She issued a warning to the housekeeper, yet did not attack, sounds like she has a great temperament.

Have you tried having the housekeeper give Leia extra special treats that she'd only get from her, or maybe a favorite toy. Maybe just spend time with Leia doing something Leia likes, would help. I'd stop telling her off for her reaction, simply remove her from your housekeepers presence. By telling her off you may inadvertently teach her that the housekeeper is what is causing her to be in trouble and not her reaction to the housekeeper. If the former happens it will have the opposite effect from what you want and is likely to teach her that she really needs to get the housekeeper to leave.
 

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Personally sounds like she is uncomfortable with people...

''Silently accepting petting'' and then lunging when the person turns away is typically discomfort/fear related, not ''guard dog'' instinct. It's great she has bite inhibition, but that bite should be taken seriously. Bare minimum a really good management plan should ne out in place.

Telling her off for reacting to people may cause suppression of body language and warnings, which can be very problematic. People going this route often see the lack of reaction as progress and allow interaction when the dog is still uncomfortable. They end up with a false sense of security almost and then are often surprised ehen the dog reacts ''without warning.''

Honestly, I would go the management route first. No more having people pet her. It's setting her up to fail and just adding another unplesant experience with people (has to tolerate petting and the correction for reacting). Reward her instead for good behavior in the presence of people. And don't leave her alone with anyone. It's best at this stage of training for all rewards to be coming from you. If you want the housekeeper say hi and and give food or toy, the treats/toy should always be tossed, preferably behind Leia. Otherwise I would just put her away so the housekeeper can do her job without worry.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Here's an update incase anyone is in a similar situation and comes across this thread

5 months is apparently the answer to this question.

We had taken to confining Leia to a patio so the maid could do her work. The separations weren't really barriers since Leia could have easily jumped the barrier but she never showed any interest beyond raising her head. She also never barked so wasn't annoying or anything.

We had sort of given up counter conditioning as well because we didn't have a ton of time that overlapped when the maid worked. It was still something we talked about regularly because obviously we found the situation untenable but, good intentions and all that.

Anyways turns out it didn't matter. At some point about a month and a half ago (so a month after I posted this thread), without us even realizing it (or having her mention it to us), the housekeeper got over her fear and started walking through the patio where Leia was confined. Leia didn't mind and now they regularly share spaces with out any problems. Leia doesn't wag her tail for her like she did for our previous maid nor does she look to be pet like Simba does but she also doesn't look at her warily or even react much.

All's well that ends well, I guess.
 
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